Most companies have a multitude of systems that communicate with each other in varying capacities. Sometimes they just send data points to each other, or they share widgets that people can see. Or maybe they send over huge amounts of data that gets merged and shows up elsewhere.
These interconnections between different technologies are usually built first to solve a workflow problem. For example, someone needs an account number in System A to show up in System B. While these integrations are powerful, they are rarely built with reporting visibility in mind.
Why Stale Data Is Costing Organizations Big Time
A recent Fivetran study found that “86 percent of respondents say their business needs access to real-time ERP data to make smart business decisions, yet only 23 percent of responding companies have systems in place to make that possible.” The study emphasizes that when organizations don’t have access to real-time, accurate data, they make poor business decisions, which ultimately leads to lost revenue.
This is especially true in the software development space. Despite tool advancement, the gap between what we said we wanted to do and how/if it's getting done is still as huge as it was 20 years ago. If this sounds like your organization, you’re not alone.
This situation is happening because lots of big consulting firms have been telling companies that to have visibility of high-value data, they must undergo a complete people, process, and tool transformation. However, such a massive cultural shift means changing the way teams work, which can be painful and expensive. So, we’d like to propose a new, simpler way to approach how your organization improves its reporting visibility.
How to Improve Reporting Visibility Without Disrupting Teams
Instead of disrupting teams and organizing them for reporting purposes, layer a reporting structure on top of what teams are already doing. There are hundreds of tools you can use for this, but there is one common denominator to make this work.
You will need a person who is exclusively dedicated to reporting. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but when you think about the overrun costs on projects (often in the millions!) that could have been avoided with the right data being visible, then that number pales in comparison.
Let’s dive into three simple ways to improve reporting visibility without completely transforming teams. We use the example of a company that manages software development work with Jira Software and explore solutions in order of implementation effort required, starting with the lowest and going to the highest.
1. Build A Dashboard
Build a dashboard using Jira Software or one of the Atlassian Marketplace apps like Rich Filters. These simple reporting apps enable you to create groupings of data (filters) based on fields in Jira Software.
Those groupings are then used to provide visualizations of the data. Creating this kind of dashboard gives you basic information across the data aggregations you care about, without having to alter the ways your teams work.
2. Use An Overlap App
Overlap apps like Tempo Structure allow you to stack a structure on top of the team-defined structure, enabling you to view, organize, and manage work in one place using flexible hierarchies. This means that you could, for example, have a portfolio structure that aggregates teams into programs without having to move the teams in Jira Software.
3. Use A Business Intelligence Tool
Using a Business Intelligence (BI) tool like PowerBI or Tableau enables you to pull data from various systems and aggregate that data exactly how you want. The benefit of BI tools is that you can publish insights to an internal intranet, which means leadership doesn’t have to go into the tools that teams are working with.
BI tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated with new Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies that can review your data over time and provide intelligent insights. They can also allow you to ask questions about the data in simple language without having to write a complicated query or even use a lot of filters.
For example, you can simply ask, “What’s my highest cost initiative this quarter?” and you will get the information you need. BI tools make all of this possible, all without having to disrupt how your teams work.
In the example below, we use a BI tool to combine strategic data from our portfolio management tool with work data from our work management tool and timesheet data from our time tracking tool. The result we get is a comprehensive view of how strategy, work execution, and cost are tracked against each other.
Get Your Data Organized
Your data is the lifeblood of your organization. It’s what connects you to your customer, but it has little to no value when locked away in data silos. The reality of today’s organizations is they rely on different platforms to move work forward. This means their data comes from multiple sources.
Before you analyze anything or make any big business decisions, your data needs to be organized and centralized. This is key to improving reporting capabilities and making timely, informed decisions that impact your company’s bottom line.
At Praecipio, we are passionate about helping organizations tap into the power of enterprise intelligence. We have helped organizations across various industries create an integrated data ecosystem that enables them to connect work execution to business strategy.
Reach out to our team to learn more about becoming a data-driven enterprise.